When curative treatment is no longer an option, hospice care can be a beneficial option for patients and their families. Hospice care includes a full range of services, including medical, pharmaceutical, social and spiritual support. As part of the admission process, a Certificate of Terminal Illness will be needed. Signed by a physician, this certificate states that a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less (if the terminal illness runs its normal course).
Recognizing that determination of life expectancy can be difficult, a patient may be hospice appropriate if they have the following:
- Physical decline
- Unexpected weight loss
- Desires comfort care
- Considerable assistance required with most activities of daily living
- Frequent hospital visits
The common disease criterion below provides general guidelines to help healthcare professionals determine if hospice is an option.